H. Rept. 113-394 - 113th Congress (2013-2014)
April 01, 2014, As Reported by the Natural Resources Committee

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House Report 113-394 - RIM FIRE EMERGENCY SALVAGE ACT




[House Report 113-394]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


113th Congress                                            Rept. 113-394
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
                     RIM FIRE EMERGENCY SALVAGE ACT

                                _______
                                

 April 1, 2014.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
             State of the Union and ordered to be printed.

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3188]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3188) to expedite the planning and 
implementation of salvage timber sales as part of Forest 
Service and Department of the Interior restoration and 
rehabilitation activities for lands within the Stanislaus 
National Forest and Yosemite National Park and Bureau of Land 
Management lands adversely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in 
California, having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon with amendments and recommend that the bill as amended 
do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act''.

SEC. 2. EXPEDITED SALVAGE TIMBER SALES IN RESPONSE TO THE CALIFORNIA 
                    RIM FIRE.

  (a) Salvage Timber Sales Required.--As part of the restoration and 
rehabilitation activities undertaken on the lands within the Stanislaus 
National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management lands adversely 
impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in California, the Secretary of 
Agriculture, with respect to affected Stanislaus National Forest lands, 
and the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to affected Bureau of 
Land Management lands, shall promptly plan and implement salvage timber 
sales of dead, damaged, or downed timber resulting from that wildfire.
  (b) Expedited Implementation.--
          (1) Legal sufficiency.--Due to the extraordinary severity of 
        the Rim Fire occurring on the Federal lands described in 
        subsection (a), salvage timber sales conducted under such 
        subsection shall proceed immediately and to completion 
        notwithstanding any other provision of law, including the 
        National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
        seq.), section 14 of the National Forest Management Act of 1976 
        (16 U.S.C. 472a), the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources 
        Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.), and the Federal 
        Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et 
        seq.).
          (2) Administrative and judicial review.--Salvage timber sales 
        conducted under subsection (a) shall not be subject to--
                  (A) administrative review, including, in the case of 
                the Forest Service, the notice, comment, and appeal 
                requirements of section 322 of the Department of the 
                Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 
                (Public Law 102-381; 16 U.S.C. 1612 note); or
                  (B) judicial review in any court of the United 
                States.
    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to expedite the planning and implementation of 
salvage timber sales as part of Forest Service and Department 
of the Interior restoration and rehabilitation activities for 
lands within the Stanislaus National Forest and Bureau of Land 
Management lands adversely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in 
California.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 3188, as ordered reported, is to 
expedite the planning and implementation of salvage timber 
sales as part of Forest Service and Department of the Interior 
restoration and rehabilitation activities for lands within the 
Stanislaus National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands 
adversely impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in California.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The Yosemite Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act (H.R. 3188) was 
introduced in the wake of the devastating Rim Fire in 
California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Rim Fire first began 
on August 17, 2013, allegedly due to an abandoned campfire. 
This fire became the third largest wildfire in California's 
history and burned approximately 257,000 acres--over 400 square 
miles--of the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National 
Park, in addition to destroying 11 residences and over 100 
other structures. The total cost of fire suppression is 
estimated to be over $127 million.
    While the Forest Service has begun the process of offering 
a limited amount of salvage timber for sale from the Rim Fire 
to restore areas that will impact the City of San Francisco's 
hydroelectric dam and power plants, the agency admits that 
``[it] will take much longer to approve other areas for salvage 
logging'' due to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
    According to the Society of American Foresters, post-fire 
restoration, including salvage of dead timber, is in many cases 
necessary to reduce wildfire risk from future fires, reduce 
insect, disease, and invasive species infestations, as well as 
improve forest regeneration, wildlife habitat, and finally, 
reduce watershed impacts and erosion. It is also necessary to 
implement salvage projects as soon as possible before the 
economic value of the timber is lost due to deterioration, thus 
making it more expensive to complete restoration and 
reforestation activities as the revenues from salvage timber 
sales are made available to fund such work.
    H.R. 3188 would assist in the restoration process by 
directing the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to 
``promptly'' implement salvage timber sales of dead and damaged 
timber as a result of the Rim Fire. The legislation would 
categorically exclude such timber sales from time-consuming 
analysis under NEPA and other applicable federal laws, and 
would also prohibit frivolous appeals and litigation to ensure 
that projects would not be delayed.
    During Natural Resources Committee markup of the bill, the 
Committee adopted an amendment offered by Congressman Tom 
McClintock (R-CA) to exclude Yosemite National Park from lands 
affected by this legislation.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 3188 was introduced on September 26, 2013, by 
Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Agriculture, and in addition to the Committee on 
Natural Resources. Within the Natural Resources Committee, the 
bill was referred to to the Subcommittee on Public Lands and 
Environmental Regulation. On October 3, 2013, the Subcommittee 
held a hearing on the bill. On November 14, 2013, the Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee 
on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation was discharged by 
unanimous consent. Congressman McClintock offered an amendment 
designated .072 to the bill; the amendment was adopted by voice 
vote. No further amendments were offered to the bill, and the 
bill, as amended, was then adopted and ordered favorably 
reported to the House of Representatives by a record vote of 16 
to 15, as follows:
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            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 3188--Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act

    H.R. 3188 would direct the Secretaries of the Interior and 
Agriculture to conduct salvage sales of dead, damaged, or 
downed timber resulting from the 2013 Rim Fire in California. 
Sales of salvage timber under the bill would be exempted from 
certain laws related to the environment and forest management. 
In addition, sales conducted under the bill would not be 
subject to administrative or judicial review.
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3188 would have no 
significant net impact on the federal budget. Because enacting 
the bill would affect offsetting receipts, and thus direct 
spending, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply; however, CBO 
estimates that the net effect on direct spending would be 
negligible. Enacting H.R. 3188 would not affect revenues.
    Under current law, we expect that the Forest Service will 
sell significant amounts of salvage timber from areas affected 
by the 2013 Rim Fire over the next several years. In addition, 
based on information provided by the Forest Service, CBO 
expects that other factors, including a lack of manufacturing 
capacity and hazardous weather conditions in the affected 
areas, would prevent the Forest Service from significantly 
increasing the amount of salvage timber sold if the bill was 
enacted. Finally, CBO expects that any increase in the amount 
of salvage timber sold in the affected areas would be partially 
offset by reductions in the sale of such timber in other 
national forests.
    H.R. 3188 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect 
the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.
    H.R. 3188 would impose a private-sector mandate, as defined 
in UMRA, on plaintiffs by eliminating a right of action to seek 
judicial review of sales of salvageable timber on some federal 
lands affected by the Rim Fire. The cost of eliminating a right 
of action is the forgone income and value of awards in such 
cases. Because such losses would generally not occur for the 
types of cases involved, the mandate would probably impose no 
costs. Consequently, CBO estimates the cost of the mandate 
would fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA 
for private-sector mandates ($152 million in 2014, adjusted 
annually for inflation).
    On February 5, 2014, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 2954, the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act, as 
posted on the website of the House Committee on Rules on 
January 30, 2014. Title IX of H.R. 2954 contains provisions 
similar to those contained in H.R. 3188, and the CBO cost 
estimates are the same.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Jeff LaFave 
(for federal costs) and Amy Petz (for the private-sector 
impact). The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 3188 would have no significant net impact on 
the federal budget. Because enacting the bill would affect 
offsetting receipts, and thus direct spending, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would apply; however, CBO estimates that the net 
effect on direct spending would be negligible.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill, as ordered reported, is to expedite the 
planning and implementation of salvage timber sales as part of 
Forest Service and Department of the Interior restoration and 
rehabilitation activities for lands within the Stanislaus 
National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands adversely 
impacted by the 2013 Rim Fire in California.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. The Chairman does not believe that 
this bill directs any executive branch official to conduct any 
specific rule-making proceedings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    H.R. 3188 requires salvage logging in the areas affected by 
the Rim Fire, one of the largest fires ever recorded in the 
Sierra Nevada Mountains, while waiving all aspects of the 
National Environmental Policy Act and a list of other landmark 
environmental laws.
    Planning, environmental review, and public comment are all 
important components of forest management. Taking any of those 
pieces out of the equation threatens our forests and the 
resources Congress has pledged to protect.
    The jury is still out on the merits of salvage logging 
after wildfires. In fact, many scientists agree that post-fire 
logging upsets a critical component of forest ecology and 
should be done on a case-by-case basis, and then only after 
careful review.
    H.R. 3188 fails to review the merits of salvage logging or 
assess when and how it may be appropriate in the context of the 
Rim Fire.
    The Rim Fire may have been an opportunity to reexamine the 
post-wildfire management tools available to the Forest Service 
and Bureau of Land Management. Instead, H.R. 3188 turns it into 
an opportunity to score a few political points.
    While the majority amended the bill in committee to remove 
Yosemite National Park from the scope of the bill, H.R. 3188 
sets a terrible precedent.
                                   Peter A. DeFazio.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva.


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